WHY SHOULD I BUY ORGANIC COTTON!
BY LAURA DRAPER
To best understand why you should choose to buy organic cotton, it is perhaps easier to start by looking at what is wrong with conventional cotton. When you think of the word ‘cotton’, what does that conjure up for you? Do words like natural, clean and soft come to mind? But, what if I were to tell you that conventional cotton growing, and production, is the second biggest cause of pollution on the planet!
Let’s start by taking a closer look at cotton farming.
It sounds harmless enough, but the way that most of the world’s cotton is grown, is far from clean and natural.
Conventional cotton growing uses,
- 16% of the worlds’ insecticides
- 7% of the worlds’ pesticides
- chemical fertilisers which damage the soil
Morever, growing cotton also uses vast amounts of water – more than any other fibre. For instance, to grow enough cotton to make just one pair of jeans it can take over 15,000 litres of water! What makes it worse, is that this type of cotton farming takes place on a mammoth industrial scale. Worldwide millions of people suffer water shortage, and health problems, as a result of cotton production. These farming methods still account for 99% of the cotton that is grown.
Secondly, we need to look at how this cotton is taken to be made into clothes.
Again, fairly harmless sounding but, textile manufacturing uses extremely toxic chemicals at every stage of the process.
This manufacturing mainly takes place in the developing world. In these countries, garment factories are getting away with discharging their toxic waste into waterways and rivers. And this waste contains, among other nasties, lead, arsenic and mercury. People living around these rivers depend on this water for most of their daily needs such as washing, cooking and irrigating their fields.
The damage to the environment, and to human health, is colossal and, as a result, textile manufacturing is one of the worst polluters on the planet.
But there is a better way – organic cotton.
By growing organic cotton to strict standards we can protect the health of soils, preserve animal and plant life and keep farmers and their families safe.
Organic cotton production uses,
- Only natural processes
- No toxic chemicals, fertilisers or pesticides
- 71% less water, much of which is recycled
- No genetically modified seed
- 62% less energy
Organic farming can even have a positive impact on climate change by locking carbon into the soil. And, of course, these natural processes mean you get a softer, more natural, product which is free from potentially harmful nasties, and kinder and gentler on the skin.
So, now when you contemplate “Why should I buy organic cotton?”, I hope you can see that there are very good reasons to choose organic cotton clothing over products made from mass produced conventional cotton.
Yes, organic cotton products may cost a little bit more, but at least they are not costing the earth!